The 10 Most Memorable Miss USA Gowns Will Have You Excited About This Year’s Pageant

The Miss USA pageant has obviously seen its share of ah-mazing gowns over the years, but there are some that stood out above all the rest. They wowed us, they awed us, they made our jaws totally drop, and that is how you know you slayed that pageant stage. If Miss Congeniality taught me anything, it’s that the evening gown is one of the most important parts of a pageant, so a killer dress is totally mandatory, and these ten ladies completely delivered.

Sunday night, a brand new group of contestants will compete at the 2016 Miss USA pageant, but before they take the stage and wow us with their sure-to-be gorgeous gowns, it’s probably fitting to take a look back at the most memorable Miss USA gowns of all time. These  are seriously deserving of a second look.

It’s pretty hard to narrow it down to just ten, because let’s be real, most contestants bring their style A-game, but these are the ones that just stood out a notch above the rest. Check out these ten most memorable Miss USA gowns — I have a feeling after this year, we’ll have a few more to add to this list.

1. Olivia Culpo

You can’t have a best gowns list without mentioning Culpo — that ethereal purple gown was a complete stunner.

2. Vanessa Williams

This one is a bit older, but it proves that a timeless gown is always going to wow. The floral, halter-style lilac gown Williams wore when she became the first African American Miss USA back in 1984 is definitely one for the books.

3. Rima Fakih

6 years ago ??? #rimafakih #missusa #missuniverso #missuniverse #like4like #followxfollow #picoftheday

A photo posted by Página Missologa (@miss_universo_opina) on May 16, 2016 at 4:30pm PDT


I fell in love with Fakih’s white, strapless gown back in 2010. Total princess moment.

4. Susie Costello

White. Feathers. Embroidery. This gown is basically everything.

5. Rachel Renee Smith

Hours away from the crowning of #MissTennesseeUSA 2016! ❤️? #MissUSA2007 #MissTennessee #MissUniverse2007 #MissUSA

A photo posted by Miss_Universe_Fan? (@miss_universe_fan) on Oct 10, 2015 at 2:18pm PDT

Red was a bold choice, and it totally paid off.

6. Crystle Stewart

Another #flashback, but this time to when beautiful #missusa2008, Crystle Stewart competed in the evening gown segment of #missuniverse2008 in this absolutely #gorgeous #CarlosAlberto gown! I miss seeing Carlos Alberto’s designs on the #pageant stage! I always loved his creations! ✨✨✨ #PuertoRico #Puertorican #Puertoricandesigner #thepageantspotlight #pageantstyling #haute #hautecouture #couture #fashion #highfashion #fashionspiration #gownspiration #eveninggowns #eveningdress #pageantgowns #redcarpet #instastylist #igstylist #followme #awardshowworthy #missuniverse

A photo posted by Andrew of #ThePageantSpotlight (@thepageantspotlight) on Jan 29, 2016 at 10:10pm PST

I can never resist anything that sparkles, and this gown totally stole the show (and needless to say, the title back in 2008).

7. Shandi Finnesy

Whether you loved or hated this gown — you can’t deny, it made a statement, and was totally different than anything we’d seen before.

8. Lynette Cole

#beautiful #lynettecole #missusa ?

A photo posted by Miss Universe Queens ? (@missuniversequeens) on May 24, 2016 at 11:03am PDT

Proof that an LBD works every time, and that you don’t have to go over-the-top to make a statement (and, like, win the entire pageant).

9. Alyssa Campanella

That emerald green gown was an Ariel moment, and I am obsessed.

10. Olivia Jordan

Our most recent winner definitely deserves a spot on this list — her bright pink gown would have totally made Elle Woods proud.